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Hard Work Key In Path To Success
Graduation 2020 Feature: National Examination Pathway (GCE N-Level)
Netballer Tham May Xin and Track and Field Academy student-athlete Saifuddin Nasrudin have matured and grown in sport and as individuals during their four years in Singapore Sports School. They share the factors that have contributed to their growth and what their next steps are.
Strong Support A Boost To Development
What Tham May Xin lacked in skill, she made up for it in hard work and a good attitude. When the netballer joined Singapore Sports School in 2017, her greatest asset was her height. Standing at 165.4cm-tall at 12 years old, May Xin was naturally placed in the Goal Keeper (GK) or Goal Defence (GD) positions.
Within a year, the hard working student-athlete honed and refined her skills to prove that height was not her only asset. In Secondary 2, May Xin was selected to join Netball Singapore’s (NS) National Under 14 team. The selection came with more playing opportunities and the chance to train alongside players of a similar standard. She continued to develop in her sport and at 15 years old, became a member of the North Zone U17 team, also a NS initiative.
The Secondary 4 student-athlete aims high not only in sport but academically as well, as she works towards qualifying for the Polytechnic Foundation Programme at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. The PFP, offered by all five polytechnics, is highly competitive and admits the top students from each cohort.
Throughout her four years in the Netball Academy, May Xin is grateful for the support she has received from the strong parents network. The community of netball parents were “there at every trip and every match, going through our ups and downs with us.”
“My coaches have also given me lots of advice on how I can improve as an athlete and as a person. I’m very thankful for them,” said May Xin.
As she graduates from Sports School and prepares to continue her education in a tertiary institution, the netballer will hold dear the fond memories forged while living in Boarding. “Boarding was where lots of interesting memories were created, such as the bonding activities in each other's room and the heart-to-heart talks.”
Never-Give-Up Spirit Pays Off
It was the final of the Boys Under 15 100m Hurdles at the 27th MSSM-SSSC-LAWA Little Athletics Championship in Pahang, Malaysia. Saifuddin Nasrudin had set up his blocks and was doing his last few practice starts before the race commenced. He burst off the blocks, aiming to clear the first two hurdles when he suddenly tripped and landed arm-first on the ground. Quickly picking himself up, he pushed the niggling pain away and focused on preparing for the impending race.
It was only after the meet that he went to a nearby clinic and found out that he had fractured his wrist.
“I was feeling calm and focused before my race, so I didn’t think much of the pain. When I heard that I had fractured my wrist, I was a little confused because it had seemed like just another fall. I did not expect such a serious injury,” said Saifuddin who finished the race in third place against a field of Australians and Malaysians.
“Thinking back to that day, I was lucky that I chose not to overthink the situation. Otherwise, I might not have finished the race at all, and it would have been a great opportunity wasted, as this was my last chance to compete in this competition due to the age restriction. So I’m glad that I told myself not to think too much about the fall and to finish the race no matter what. I have no regrets about that day.”
In addition to his never-give-up attitude, the Secondary 4 Track and Field Academy student-athlete constantly pursues improvement, proactively seeking advice and guidance, says his coach Ricardo Jose Diez Boza.
“Saifuddin demonstrates great enthusiasm as well as positive work attitude in training and competition, and has the potential to evolve into a good athlete if he continues working hard,” said Ricardo.
His good work ethic is evident both on and off the track, as seen from the self-disciplined he displays in his studies.
Saifuddin, who graduates this year and hopes to continue his education in the Nitec in Fitness Training course at ITE College Central, attributes his growth as a student-athlete to his environment at Sports School.
“Singapore Sports School has made me a better, stronger and much more mature than I was before I entered this school. The academic programme has helped me feel more at ease and I can learn more productively in class. My coaches and academy staff, seniors, and teammates have made this school livelier, and a perfect place to train and to stay. Of course, the Boarding mentors not only make Boarding a safe and enjoyable for us to live in, they look after our emotional and mental well-being despite their busyness,” said Saifuddin.